I’m here to make a case for Joey Gallo’s change.
Gallo, in one forgettable season, was transferred from a World Series favorite (the Yankees) – where he performed brutally and was mercilessly booed every time he beat – to another on the shores opposite sea (Dodgers).
Perhaps the Dodgers – like the Rays, Brewers and Padres, who are said to be interested in the quarterback on trade deadline – think they can fix him, or at least provide a change of scene. for the slugger in the hope that his super powers will return .
After all, Gallo took down .159 / .282 / .339 in the Bronx, including beating .085 in his final 29 games in the pinstripes. His left wing power, which is said to lead to him frequently sending the ball over the short porch of Yankee Stadium to the right, is almost non-existent. In fact, only 4 of his 12 round pruners arrive at home.
His walking rate has decreased; his sortie rate increased. Perhaps there’s something in the analysis that suggests he’ll get better, despite not appearing on the roster that was once the top-scoring team in baseball.
But here’s the real reason he’ll improve — call it the Dodger Effect.
The Dodgers are the Yankees of the West, though they have more recently appeared in three World Series over the past five years, winning one in the COVID-shortened 2020 season. They’re high profile, in a big market. Gallo couldn’t hack it under the bright lights of New York, New York. But what about laid back La La Land where the fans’ greatest motivating factor is beating traffic.
But there’s a reason for hope in other struggling players blossoming once they put on Dodger blue, also known as Pantone 294. Look no further that Taylor, Chris and Turner, Justin.
Do you remember Justin Turner’s Mets tenure? Or how Chris Taylor wasted away in Seattle before a trade sent him to SoCal? What about Max Muncy’s time with the penny-pinching A’s?
How would you describe their pre-Dodger careers? Ugly. Disappointing. Lackluster.
What about after? They’ve become All-Stars and earned rings.
Taylor went from slashing .240/.296/.296 in three years with the hapless Mariners to .261/.339/.453 in his seven since. He hit a total of zero dingers with Seattle. ZERO. He’s slugged 85 since.
Turner, a key cog during L.A.’s playoff runs, was a .265 hitter with eight homers during his four years in Flushing. And that was in 814 at-bats. Now he’s a career .295 hitter with the Dodgers, having clubbed 151 long balls, hitting a career high of 27 three times. In the playoffs, Turner has hit 13 round trippers, knocked in 42, and scored 43 runs in 82 games.
The Dodgers altered Turner’s swing by adding a leg kick. With Taylor, it was a complete overhaul that included moving the barrel and a leg kick. With Muncy, a little fine-tuning with a bend and a leg kick. Whatever the case, the Dodgers knew how to fix them.
Muncy went from a total of five HRs in two years in Oakland to smashing 35 in each of his first two seasons in L.A. He’s up to 128 for his career.
Gallo is a bit of a different story. Before his trade to N.Y. Joey Gallo was a two-time All-Star, who had hit 145 home runs across 568 games with the Rangers. His season high was 41 in 2017, and followed that up with 40 a year later.
But his Yankee tenure was his lowest of lows. Though he grew up a Yankee fan, he was among a group that just can’t seem to handle the Bronx — a hitter’s version of Ed Whitson, Hideki Irabu, Sonny Gray, A.J. Burnett, etc.
“I think it’s a product of the culture we have around here, the environment. The way everyone is treated,” Turner told Bleacher Report after Muncy’s rise to stardom.
Maybe with less of a microscope on him, Gallo could get his groove back.
Getting Gallo is far from the splash that the Padres made by acquiring Juan Soto (and Josh Bell), but he could be one of the most important players come playoff time.
We’ve seen it happen before in L.A. We could certainly see it again. Who doesn’t love a good Hollywood ending?